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June 10, 2014

What Someone Thinks About You Is Not Your Business

I once received an email from a woman who was going through a hard time in her relationship with her husband of 30 years. Without her saying it in so many words, I gleaned that infidelity was somehow involved and she had made the decision to stay with him and they were trying to work it out, despite her deep trust issues after the fact.

She told me that she found after Googling, “Staying in my own business.” She went on to tell me how much my blogs have helped her through that tough time and have given her hope for a better reality for herself. *heart actually warming right meow*

Well, not only was I shocked that someone would Google that phrase :) but I was completely touched that she’d found my site and felt comfortable enough to reach out. A side note: my assistant, Melissa and I are constantly tearing up at some of the sweetest and heart-warming emails we get from you guys. Means so, so much.

I love the idea of “staying in my business” but did not come up with it. Of course, it’s something you hear parents tell children from a young age, but my personal inspiration is how personal freedom author and teacher, Byron Katie states it in a way that resonates for me.

Katie says that there are 3 kinds of “businesses”:

  1. My Business
  2. Your Business
  3. God’s Business (things out of our control like natural disasters, etc)

This framework alone allows for us (if we choose to) to blissfully maintain our inner peace despite what is going on around us.

Now, don’t mistake this for being naive or ignorant. This is not about that.

This is instead about detaching from other people’s opinions of us. Realizing that we cannot control what other people do or say, and to get ourselves worked up over something we can’t control only causes us pain, sadness and frustration.


(Well, I guess we could control it if we were willing to be someone else. But, when we are pretending to be anything we’re not, in those moments, we are not in line with our true self, and it won’t ever last and we cannot find sustainable happiness in being someone we aren’t). 

Here’s how you use this framework:

Some questions I ask …

  • Whose business is it if so-and-so doesn’t like me?
  • Whose business am I in if I am trying to control how someone else sees the world?
  • Whose business am I in if I am trying to convince someone else they should be different?
  • Whose business is it what someone else says or feels? Don’t they have a right to make up their own mind?
  • How can we really know what’s best for someone else? If we think we do, who’s business are we in?
  • And so on …

This is a good mental exercise we can use to check ourselves whenever we are feeling stressed or upset by someone else’s actions or words.

Who are we to know what’s best for someone else? We absolutely can’t know. Even if they are “messing up,” don’t we owe it to them to let them make their own mistakes? 

How can we really prevent anyone from doing anything? We could certainly try, but in those moments, we are not in our business.

Aaaaaah! THIS IS SO, SO HARD. Isn’t it? And of course, we don’t get it 100% of the time, but it’s a great practice.

But Katie says that when we are actively inserting ourselves into someone else’s business, there’s no one there to look over ours. Our only job is to take care of our own stuff, and offer support, consideration and care to others when able, but also remembering that there’s POWER is allowing people to do what they’re going to do. That’s part of living a full life of choices, consequences, learning and growing.

I love this tool because it allows me to check myself when I find myself in someone else’s business.

I know this is ultimately about TRUST. And trusting MYSELF to be able to handle whatever happens, letting the chips fall, letting other people do what they’re going to do, be who they’re going to be, and relinquishing control over the things I don’t really have control over anyway.

Control is an illusion.

And when my sense of control inevitably falters, I have a choice: I can kick and scream and get miserable wishing it was different, people were different, life was different. OR, I can accept that I can never really know, and that all of my hardships and obstacles are segways to self-improvement. And I can focus on doing my best.

These are such hard lessons and I think the more we practice, the more we “get it.” And the more we get it, the easier it is to carve out a space of peace in an unpredictable, unknowable world. Staying in my own business is not easy. But wow, is it liberating!

You may ask why, at JillFit, we spend so much time on mindset. Besides, I do fitness and nutrition, don’t I? Of course, and I love it. But trying to insert yourself into some random fitness or nutrition plan without any consideration for mindset is a mistake. It’s a Band-Aid because ultimately mindset stuff is always ends up being a huge piece of the fat loss puzzle.

How we THINK about things determines how effective we are at DOING them.

So in a very real way, results begin in the mind. The “to-do’s” come later. I like to begin with the “to-think’s” :)

Some tweetables for you:

Learn, Grow,
Teach, Practice

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